Fear Factor: Use What Scares You To Make You Stronger

I am terrified of any creature that crawls, has a shell, flies and is multicoloured. Bugs freak me out.

There I said it.

Thanks to a little girl called Gemma, I came face to face with this innate fear. On a visit to Gemma's mother, this little angel literally pulled me by the hand and asked me to help her collect snails. 

EEEEEW!

The voices in my head were up in arms protesting this equivalent of torture.

She was building a fortress or something, and had collected twigs, branches and only needed two more snails to complete her masterpiece.

Like, really, me?! Go and touch a snail!

No way, hoozay!

The good Christian girl in me [and Gemma's puppy eyes] somehow managed to convince me that since she was being such a nice child, I could try- for her sake and mine.

Only that I couldn't bring myself to touch the poor creature with my bare hands. Gemma's way of encouraging me was to tell me nonchalantly: 'It doesn't bite...just grab it by the shell and put it down."

Instead, I opted to catch the snail with a leaf.

All was fine until Gemma told her mom, "You come. But not your friend [pointing at me], because she's scared."

Well of course I was scared.

I still am actually, grown up adult woman that I am.

It's not only bugs that scare me though.   There are other deep seated fears that threaten to paralyse any progress I may be making in this game of life. 

Fear of being outdone:

The perfectionist in my Virgo self will not allow me to accept not being the best at any instance. I hold myself to very high standards. Raise your hands if you feel like sometimes you are always competing.   It happens when you feel like you are not moving as fast as you ought to or that others took the speed train while you are riding a tortoise.  

Remind yourself that on this journey you are here to move at your own pace. At the end of the day, you best learn how to enjoy the view and pick up all the lessons you can. Where you are is perfect.  

May these words by Judy Garland remind you that you are running your own race, and you will get there. No matter how long it takes you.

“Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else."

Fear of rejection:

I don't believe there is anything scarier than putting yourself out there, especially as a creative.  I feel this strongly every time I am about to hit publish on a blog post. All manner of self doubts plague me.  Will they get my message? Will they understand what it is I am trying to say? Is it good enough? The criticising negative self chatter does more harm.

What I have come to believe is that it does not matter than only a handful of people resonate with you. What matters is that you have the courage to share what you need to share.  Those who need your message will find you. Your tribe will cheer you on and support you. 

Affirm to yourself: My Gift Is Special.

Fear of failure:

Even after reminding myself that Thomas Edison failed 99 times before he came up with the electric bulb as we know it and Colonel Sanders was an old man before he blessed the world with his award winning KFC recipe, therein always that nagging thought at the back of my mind.

What If I fail? We are all skilled at giving 100 reasons why something can and will fail. 

Here's a better alternative to the 'what if' question.  Instead of imagining what could go wrong, I am learning to challenge myself to think 'what if this went well?' and get into creative flow.  

The truth is you can easily choose not to scare yourself by thinking about the best possible outcome.

Once you get through this tip, proceed to JUST DO IT [and give yourself a fist thump when you do]

Fear of not being seen

It is human nature to want to be seen. In one way or another, most of us imagine ourselves to be celebrities. I find it especially frustrating when I have poured heart and soul into what I do, only for it to pass unnoticed. Whether it is a great job or I have prepared the most exotic meal I could find or painstakingly put together a stunning floral arrangement, I expect people to notice. When they don't, a tornado will happen.

In the event my tornado isn't strong enough, the next best alternative is to do what these cool cats did and think visible thoughts.  

" We still can't see you!" groaned Alice.

" How do we fix that?" asked Melanie.

" I don't know...think visible thoughts," said Colleen.

"Think visible thoughts?" yelled Melanie.

"Actually, that might work. Do it Izzy."

Visible thoughts I have come to understand can take the form of self-acknowledgement or a literal pat on the back for a job well done. Once you begin to see your own achievements and celebrate yourself, before long others will have no choice but to see them along with you.

This is about taking charge and creating traction from within out.

Fear of shining 

When you start thinking in a more expanded way, the fear is real. What will your friends think? What will they say? Sometimes I want to maintain the status quo just so that everyone around me is comfortable.

 image borrowed from a friend on Facebook

 image borrowed from a friend on Facebook

Change is uncomfortable.

Change demands action. 

Change requires courage.

To ease up on some of the strain, recite these lines from Marianne Williamson:

Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Your Turn:

What is the story behind some of your fears? Can you identify with my fears as described above?

How do you handle them?

P.S:  If this article resonated with you or you know someone who could do with a shot of encouragement, feel free to forward.